As an avid hunter of treasures (hence the origins of this blog) I sometimes come across weird and wonderful things whether it's a vintage toy, interesting book or something growing in the garden, so in these Friday's Find posts I hope to share some of the highlights of my hunting. This week I stumbled across...
... Masquerade by artist Kit Williams!
While rummaging through some of our old books and deciding which ones need to go in the loft, I came across this little treasure. My parents had a copy of this book when it first came out, and as a child I found the pictures fascinating. I can still remember studying each page and looking at all the tiny details. I found this copy of the book a few years ago in the excellent Oxfam bookshop in Canterbury, and for me it still holds all its original appeal.
Masquerade was first published by Jonathan Cape in 1979, and it is essentially a book of clues to find an 18-carat-gold filigree pendant hare, which is adorned with jewels. Artist Kit Williams secretly buried the hare in Ampthill in Bedfordshire and, when the book was published, thousands of treasure hunters poured over the book trying to find it.
The paintings are amazingly realistic and detailed. Each one a clue...
The solution to the riddle is pretty heavy-going to explain here (phew! dodged that one). But, after drawing lots of lines between eyes and digits, the letters around the edge of the pictures spell out: "Catherine's Long finger Over Shadows Earth Buried Yellow Amulet Midday Points The Hour In Light of Equinox Look you. Which is (of course!! eh!!) an acrostic: Close by Ampthill. Further clues led treasure seekers to the cross-shaped monument of Catherine of Aragon.
To be honest, I just like the paintings, and my favourite as a child was the lady in the sunflower dress. I still love this book, and if you have a look on Wikipedia there's quite a lot of intrigue about it still. If you want to see a great documentary on Kit Williams, then have a look on YouTube on this link. He's an amazing artist and an interesting person too! XXX